Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse or intimate partner violence (IPV), can be broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation. Domestic violence has many forms including physical aggression (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation. Domestic violence may or may not constitute a crime, depending on local statutes, severity and duration of specific acts, and other variables. Alcohol consumption and mental illness can be co-morbid with abuse and present additional challenges when present alongside patterns of abuse.
Awareness, perception, and documentation of domestic violence differ from country to country, and from era to era. Estimates are that only about a third of cases of domestic violence are actually reported in the United States and the United Kingdom. According to the Centers for Disease Control, domestic violence is a serious, preventable public health problem affecting more than 32 million Americans, or over 10% of the U.S. population.
In 1995, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) convened several national domestic violence organizations - the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline and later the National Network to End Domestic Violence - to launch a new effort to support domestic violence programs' awareness and education efforts for Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), observed annually in October. The collaborative effort became the Domestic Violence Awareness Project (DVAP).
Today, the DVAP is a diverse and unique partnership of local, tribal, state and national domestic violence organizations and networks. The DVAP collaborates to collect, develop and distribute resources and ideas relevant to advocates' ongoing public and prevention awareness and education efforts not only in preparation for DVAM, but also throughout the year.
The work of the DVAP strives to creatively bring to life its statement of purpose:
The Domestic Violence Awareness Project (DVAP) supports the rights of all individuals, especially women and girls, to live in peace and dignity. Violence and all other forms of oppression against all communities and families must be eliminated. The purpose of the DVAP is to support and promote the national, tribal, territorial, state and local advocacy networks in their ongoing public education efforts through public awareness campaigns, strategies, materials, resources, capacity-building and technical assistance.
North Carolina has never publically released domestic violence statistics. On March 26, 2009, the attorney general made them public. The numbers released are staggering.
According to the attorney general office, there were 131 people murdered during a domestic violence incident. Of those killed, 99 were women, 32 were male, and most of the offenders were male (103 male offenders and 25 female offenders). There is also a new law passed in 2007 in North Carolina that requires law enforcement agencies to report incidents of domestic violence related murders to the state bureau of investigations every year. These numbers may increase because not all agencies have turned in their statistics.
The attorney general Roy Cooper is encouraging people to in an abusive situation to obtain protection orders. Only 8 out of 131 had a protection order against their murderer. And only 3 of the 8 were current. Even though protection orders are not fool proof, it is good to have one because it will lower the chance of repeat abuse.
Cooper thinks a lot of the instance of domestic violence and domestic violence related murders are related to the current economic situation.